A federal court in Pennsylvania has dismissed a challenge to a Pittsburgh demolition project because the court found no federal involvement with the project. Preservation Pittsburgh v. Conturo, No. 11-889 (W.D. Pa. 9/9/11). Plaintiff alleged that the demolition was an integral part of a plan to redevelop the site of the city’s Civic Arena, used by the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team from 1967 until 2010, using federal-aid highway funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHW A). The complaint argued that the demolition was therefore in violation of NEP A. Plaintiff also alleged that the demolition violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHP A) because the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission had determined in 2001 that the arena was eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and the owners were thus required to consult with FWH A before demolishing the arena.
Dismissing the complaint, the court held, “The mere possibility of federal funding in the future is too tenuous to convert a local project into federal action” that would require an environmental impact statement under NEP A. The court also held that the city did not violate NHP A because it too requires federal involvement to be invoked.